About the Book, Araceli’s Path (Among Angels and Devils in Juarez)
- Genre: Realistic Fiction / Border Stories / Mature Middle Grade
- Publisher: Love and Literacy
- Date of Publication: November 30, 2019
- Number of Pages: 145
- Scroll down for giveaway!
Araceli comes from a blended, dysfunctional family held together by the love of a grandmother. Rubí is being raised by a single mother who works as a prostitute. Both young girls are affected not only by their mothers’ choices but also by the violence and culture of Juarez, Mexico.
Can they overcome the cards they have been dealt, or are they destined to follow the same paths as their mothers?
Follow the lives of Araceli and Rubí from childhood to young adulthood and listen for children everywhere who are voiceless, trapped in their own cultures.
Buy, read, and discuss this book:
Proceeds benefit Love and Literacy
About the author, Marion Surles
Marion Surles was born in 1957 in Columbus, Mississippi. From a young age she was interested in learning Spanish, due to a special offering of Spanish at her elementary school. She received a BA and MA in Spanish and social work from Mississippi State University and teaches Spanish and English as a Second Language to all levels of students. She also serves as a volunteer missionary at home and in many Spanish-speaking countries. Most recently, she has formed a mission in Juarez, Mexico called Love and Literacy, which encourages reading and staying in school. Every two months, Marion travels to Juarez to bring books and literacy activities to a poor neighborhood, partnering with a local family to serve as the library. Her books are a fictional account of the lives of her students. Her Facebook page, Love and Literacy, gives updates of her work in Juarez.
Marion lives in Dublin, Texas with her husband, horses, and dogs. She enjoys trail riding, kayaking, and camping, plus visiting with her daughters and granddaughter nearby.
Connect with Marion:
An Interview with Marion Surles
How has being in Texas influenced your writing?
I grew up in Mississippi and lived there all my life. Our girls both rodeoed at Tarleton State University, and we moved to Texas to be closer to them. I had been on mission trips often to Mexico but being in Texas made the logistics much easier for more frequent trips. Driving in West Texas gave my mind long hours to think of my stories from the mission field.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field? How does your book relate to your faith?
After each mission trip, usually with a team, we would give a report to our support churches. There were statistics of how many immunizations given, how many houses built, or how many souls saved, maybe a slide show, and a few funny stories of gaffes by fellow teammates. In Texas, I met a volunteer who enjoyed writing and helping in a more individual way. He encouraged me to write and tell stories of the people we worked with.
I hope my books make our mission report more personable and easier for those who cannot be there to feel as if they are there. I want my readers to understand the material and spiritual needs across our southern border. I hope my stories strengthen the reader’s faith and encourage him or her to use the blessings we have been given to give a hand-up to someone else. We cannot all go, but we can all serve and learn from each other. These people who have their faith tested daily are the real heroes of life. They truly rely on God for their daily bread. We have so much to learn from them.
Araceli’s Path is a prequel to Grit in Juarez, your first book. What made you decide to write a prequel? Any unexpected hurdles in doing this?
When I wrote my first book, I was writing with children as my main audience and from the children’s point of view. However, the majority of my readers were adults. Some readers told me the book was too sad, and they couldn’t finish it. Others wanted to know what happened next. Many wanted to know why these families were in these situations. Araceli’s Path follows the lives of two of the mothers in a coming-of-age story. With adults as my main audience, I was able to touch on the more difficult topics of prostitution and drug culture. I hope I have given these women’s stories a fair depiction, without sugar-coating the real struggle of their lives. I also wanted to encourage others to search for their gifts of service.
Is there any person you credit for being your inspiration for reading and/or writing?
My mother always encouraged us to read. We went to the library often, chased down the bookmobile, and often received books for Christmas and birthdays. She always read to us, and on vacations she would select a special chapter book to read from each night. Plus, we always saw her reading and wanted to copy her. She was a homemaker, later a teacher, and even later an author and genealogist.
She gathered old family letters and published two books, My Darling Daughters, which contains letters from her four great-grandfathers to his daughters far away at school, and a compilation of my daddy’s letters, My Marine Memories of World War II. But I never considered writing until my mission friend Jay Nutt suggested it. Sometimes I feel like an impostor when other writers say they have been writing all their lives.
What are you working on at the present?
I have two projects I am working on now. One will be the sequel, to complete a trilogy of this series. The children grow up and follow their dreams, some crossing the border and some staying home to make things better there. I’m also working on a middle-grade-fiction chapter book about a boy running away from home. Boys are harder to entice to read. I hope the adventures of this character will encourage boys to read.
I do not write full time, as I travel often to Juarez to bring more books and supplies to the children I work with there. I’ve also made a connection with the local school principal and bring books and supplies for the school. I am always happy to receive donations of books in Spanish for my mission, Love and Literacy.
How has your formal education influenced or impacted your writing?
I have a master’s degree in Spanish and taught high-school Spanish and bilingual pre-K. I have traveled to many Spanish-speaking countries and extensively in Mexico. I also teach English as a Second Language and help students with immigration paperwork. The people and culture of Mexico have become a large part of my life, and I believe they have made my writing better. My books are also available in Spanish on Amazon.
TWO WINNERS: Autographed copies of Araceli’s Path and Grit in
Juarez (choice of English or Spanish), Day of the Dead shopping bag &
plate, Mexican coin purse, Mexican candy.
NOVEMBER 5-15, 2020
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